The Salt Lake Tribune reported last week that missionaries who came back home several weeks ago and self-isolated for the prescribed two weeks are now being assigned to new missions — perhaps temporarily until they are able to return to their original mission assignment. Apparently not many missionaries opted for the option to defer their continued service for a year or so, working or going to school in the meantime. The article also notes that newly called missionaries who have done their MTC training online are also entering the field at various missions.
On the one hand, this seems a little early to start sending missionaries back into the field. I presume that a lot of missionaries in the US will be in their apartments under stay-at-home orders for another month or two. For those who can venture out, I’m not sure a lot of people want to invite visitors into their home at the moment. On the other hand, the Church can’t just freeze the program for twelve months. First, missionaries under a call have to either substantially complete their term of service or get an early release, which is certainly justified under these difficult circumstances but not something most missionaries would choose. Second, there are a few thousand new missionaries entering the pipeline every month. You have to send them somewhere. So the Church doesn’t have good options here. They can’t just call of the 2020 season and shoot for 2021 like many professional sports organizations are doing.
So here is the question for readers: Do you have a missionary in the family and what are they doing at the moment? And what are the missionaries in your ward or stake doing? Missionaries are young, faithful, dedicated, and energetic. They can generally roll with the punches. I’m sure a lot of you have stories from your own missionary days about putting up with ramshackle housing, recurring illness, and bad food. But the current cohort of missionaries is facing unprecedented disruptions. On the practical side, what clever ideas have you seen to support or assist local missionaries who are stuck in their apartment all day?